1

I just read a sentence somewhere and as a non-native English speaker, I found the structure a bit different from the ways I have learned, the sentence is as below:

This is the feeling of loneliness you get when you realize that no one can help you make sense of your existence.

I totally understand the meaning of the sentence, however, I am wondering if it is "normal" to write"no one can help you to make sense of your existence" or "no one can help you in making sense of your existence", instead of "no one can help you make sense of your existence"?

I know my question is a foolish one, but I am hoping someone can give me more details on it. Thanks.

2 Answers 2

2

make is a verb; therefore, there is nothing wrong with this sentence.

Another option to make this sentence more fluid would be to add the word out after make sense, like:

This is the feeling of loneliness you get when you realize that no one can help you make sense out of your existence.

As mentioned in The Free Dictionary, this structure's meaning is:

To interpret something in a way that one can understand or that reveals some purpose, reason, etc.

As you can see, using out is optional here. out is in parenthesis.

Example sentences:

It will be a long time before we can begin to make sense of this tragedy.

Can you make sense out of these markings? Is it a code, or what?

1
0

If you were to write "no one can help you to make sense of your existence" instead of "no one can help you make sense of your existence," you're actually writing the same sentence twice. "To make" is the verb, and the "to" can be omitted freely without changing the meaning. I read here that the "to" appears whenever the direct object precedes the indirect object, the direct object being "no one" and the indirect object being "you." If you were to switch these around so that the indirect object comes first, the sentence would be

This is the feeling of loneliness you get when you realize that you can be helped by no one to make sense of your existence.

U12-Forward said in their answer that "out" can be added to make your sentence sound more fluid. Meanwhile, I would add "own" myself.

No one can help you make sense of your own existence.

or, maybe change it up even further

You won't be able to find anyone to help you make sense of your own existence.

Besides the basic rules of sentence structure, (noun, verb, object, etc.) English gives you a lot of freedom in how you order the words and phrases that make up your sentence.

I have been editing a story on Wattpad for someone, and I found that they kept putting a prepositional phrase (of content) at the end of sentences instead of after the object that they were describing (a smile). As long as you don't do that, you'll be fine. Here's the sentence just in case I wasn't able to describe it well enough. :'D

He slept soundly, a smile on his face of content. <-- Wrong >:(

He slept soundly, a smile of content on his face. <-- Right :)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.